Northern Wisconsin Nordic Trails Collaborate to Celebrate Winter
MECCA Trails of Mercer and WinMan Trails of Manitowish Waters met last June with the Mercer and Manitowish Waters Chambers of Commerce to bring “Pursuit racing” back to the area. Ten years ago the Stormy Kromer Pursuit and the Iron County Pursuit were popular races for cross country skiers. In the past 10 years since, there has not been a cross country ski race at the two trail systems and with the help of community partners, sponsors and volunteers, they’ve launched the Turtle River Pursuit for February 9 & 10.
Besides the upcoming event, the two trail systems have collaborated over the years, working together sharing grooming techniques, equipment and promoting silent sports in the area.
The Gogebic Range Health Foundation stepped up as a collaboration partner because promoting their focus on health, wellness and community engagement. In addition to the Chambers of Commerce other major sponsors include Aspirus, Iron County Development, EAU Holdings, Stormy Kromer and Bartlings Cranberry Company. The Turtle River Pursuit has created an outreach program, the Community Pursuit focused on getting kids, families and seniors out on the trails for exercise and education. They’ve already provided funding for a senior ski lesson program through Fe University. Mercer School kids will get lessons in January through the Community Pursuit as well.
The Turtle River Pursuit will be held on February 9 & 10 and combines both cross country skiing disciplines, classic striding and skate skiing. The first 11k leg of the race will be at the MECCA Trails is a classic race in Mercer on Saturday. The second 11k leg of the race will be at the WinMan Trails in Manitowish Waters on Sunday and is a freestyle race. The skiing conditions are great and the trail systems are known for their meticulous grooming. The race is friendly for first-time racers.
Cross country skiers that only want to race one day can be paired with a racer through the Matchmaker Service. The award ceremony will be held on Sunday at the WinMan Trails immediately after the race.